Monday, July 21, 2014

Agency Lessons: Not right for my list

I've been sending this rejection a lot lately so I thought now would be a good time to explain what this means.

For me, this is not a form rejection. I try really hard not to send those. What this means is that I didn't find anything wrong with your submission. The query was intriguing, the pages read well, the synopsis shows you have a well-developed plot. In essence, you get an A+ on your submission.

But...I'm not requesting more pages. Why?

Because a big part of the projects an agent takes on is personal taste. I see a lot of good queries. In fact, I see a lot of great queries. But I only request pages from a small percentage of them. Not because there is anything wrong with them, but because it simply isn't a story I want to read.

It's like browsing the shelves at the library when you really aren't looking for anything in particular. Or maybe you've narrowed it down to one topic, like Alien SciFi. Do you have any idea how many of those there are at any given library? A lot. You can't read all of them. There aren't enough hours in the day. You still have to go to work, do the laundry, talk to your family. So you pick only one or two that sound the best to you.

Does that mean the ones you don't take home didn't sound good? No, they could have really piqued your interest. You probably read the back cover and thought "Hey, this could be good." You might have flipped to the front pages, read a paragraph or two, and still thought "Yep, sounds interesting". But you still put the tentacle alien story down and opted for the alien pirate book.


Because on that day, at that moment, you wanted to read about alien pirates.

I'd love to take on all the projects that sound great, but I have to be realistic. I have to keep in mind what I have going on with my current clients. How many of them are on submission? How many have projects that will be ready soon? What releases are coming up that will need my attention? All of this factors into the number of new clients I take on each year. This year my clients have been sending me tons of wonderful new projects, so I've only taken on a couple new clients. It's a constant game of see-saw where I'm measuring how much time I have against how much I need to do.

And let's be honest, it doesn't do you any good to have an agent who doesn't have time for you.

So, I'll continue to send out rejections where my only feedback is that the project just isn't quite right for me. If you get one, know that I'm not brushing you off. Keep going and you will find an agent who wants what you're selling.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Marketing to a captive audience

I'm still on the road, but all the new scenery has been great for firing up my marketing brain. Today's post is courtesy of my forgetful brain. While making a brief side trip to a hotel in Chicago, I realized I forgot my razor. The hotel gave me a free generic one that got me thinking.

Obviously I'm not the first to forget this essential item and I'm certainly not the last. Some razor manufacturer is missing out on an opportunity by not supplying these. I was a captive audience with a need and no opportunity for choice. I had to use whatever product they gave me. If Gillette or Bic had their razor as the only option, they could introduce their brand to someone who had never used them before and possibly gained a new customer.

Those companies missed an opportunity, but you don't have to. Time to think about all the places where your readers are a captive audience. Where are they sitting, waiting, passing time that could be spent reading your book. It doesn't have to be a long enough wait for them to read the whole book, just enough to grab their attention and hook them in.

Not sure where these places are? Here are a few ideas to get your brain juices flowing:

* School reading programs
* OBGYN waiting rooms (I'm looking at you, 6 hour glucose test)
* Maternity wards
* Nursing stations
* Surgery waiting rooms
* Firehouses
* Nursing homes

You can make your book a permanent item or add a sticker that tells readers they are welcome to take the book with them and then share it with a friend. Either way is fine since the main point is exposure for you and your work.

Always make sure you are asking permission before dropping off your books. Not only is this just good manners, it also gives you a chance to talk to the person in charge about your book. If you make an impression with your professionalism, you might create a new advocate willing to "hand sell" your book by pointing it out to your potential readers.

So what do you think? I'd love to hear if you've done something like this before.

Also, this is my last week of vacation so I should be back to my regular schedule next week. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You spoke...I hear you

I'm still in the Midwest for our semi-annual pilgrimage to see family, but I've managed to sneak away for a minute to say hello. Hi.

I also popped over to SurveyMonkey to see what you guys thought about me doing a weekly video. Wow, I was blown away by your enthusiasm and your amazing questions. So this is definitely a go.

I'll need a bit of time to get it set up which means the first video probably won't be available until August. I'll also need to set up the permanent ability to submit questions. In the meantime, feel free to continue sending them through the survey. I'm going to leave this open until I have everything rocking and rolling on the site.
*The survey is closed now. Please click on the purple post it note on the left side bar or click here.

Another item of note: I promised a fun new series in July, but I stink. I do have it all planned out in my notebook. Which I left back in Texas. Where I won't be until most of July is done. So, unfortunately, I'll have to bump that series to August. Since that's a bummer, I've decided to spill the beans on what the series is.

Drum roll, please.

In August I'll be posting a social media clean-up series. This will be a month dedicated to helping you get all your social media platforms cleaned-up and maximized so you can put your best foot forward to agents, editors, bloggers, book reviewers, journalists, etc. I'm really excited about this one because I'm going to play along and give daily updates for how I'm doing on my own quest for a more organized social media presence. Yeah fun!

And there's more goodness to come this summer, so be sure to check back here, or subscribe to get my posts by email, or sign up for the newsletter. Or, you know, all three, because you don't want to miss any of the awesomeness. Thanks for your patience while I'm semi-MIA. I hate that I'm not posting regularly, but I promise it's only temporary. Have a great week!
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